The Minnesota AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 320 have issued statements mourning the shooting death of Philando Castile, who was killed Wednesday night after his car was stopped by police in Falcon Heights.
Castile was a member of Local 320 since 2002 and worked as a nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul.
“The 11,000 members of Teamsters Local 320 are saddened and grieving the loss of Teamster brother Philando Castile,” Local 320 said in a statement. “This is a tragedy on every level and all Teamsters are encouraged to keep the Castile family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer Brian Aldes said, “Last night, Teamsters Local 320 lost a union brother and my deepest condolences are with his family in their time of grief.”
Teamsters Local 320 President Sami Gabriel said, “I have known Philando ‘Phil’ Castile since he joined the Teamsters back in 2002 and he was an amazing person who did his job at St. Paul Public Schools because he loved the children he served. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues and his community.”
The union also said that, while it represents law enforcement personnel in some jurisdictions in Minnesota, it did not represent the officer involved in the shooting.
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy issued the following statement:
“Words cannot even begin to describe what Philando Castile’s family and friends must be going through right now. Minnesota’s labor movement grieves for the loss of yet another young African-American man.
“While our thoughts and prayers are with Philando’s family and friends, we know that thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.
“We need to begin by giving state and federal authorities time to do their jobs, conduct impartial investigations, and let due process take its course.
“However, we must acknowledge that a double standard exists for African-American men when interacting with law enforcement. Whether the bias is intentional or not, too many African-American men find themselves on the receiving end of deadly force.
“There are no quick and easy solutions to this all too familiar incident. These are complex problems that will require tough conversations and decisions.
“Minnesota’s labor movement remains committed to helping address the racial inequalities, in both the economic and criminal justice systems, that continue to persist in our state and nation.”
The Minnesota AFL-CIO is the state labor federation made up of more than 1,000 affiliate unions, representing more than 300,000 working people throughout Minnesota.